Adoption can be a complicated process even when you’re a “traditional” couple but for members of the LGBT community the process can be even more difficult to navigate. Some of the difficulty arises from the relatively new practice of adoption within the LGBT community. For those looking to adopt however it is important to research and become familiar with the steps.
- Think about the decision to adopt, it is essential that you remember this is a choice that will impact your life and the life of child and one that will last a lifetime.
- Get to know the laws within your state in regards to LGBT adoption. Each state will have varying regulations, rules and laws as they pertain to LGBT adoptions. Good research is an important step in the adoption journey, research will also help you narrow down adoption professionals and agencies that you’ll be using later on in your search.
- Network or discuss adoption with other LGBT couples. Finding someone who has gone through the same process can be invaluable, having gone through the adoption process they will better understand the potential roadblocks and information you’ll need to guide the process along.
- Once you find an agency that you want to work with be open about your sexual orientation. Being up front to an agency is a good way to see how willing they are to work for you and with you. If an agency seems hesitant move onto another, you want the adoption agency that will understand your needs.
- Be open and upfront in the interview, this is important in establishing a relationship with the agency you will be working with, remember, this process can be a long one and you want to be as comfortable as possible with the agency or social worker you have chosen.
- Fill out a matching profile or questionnaire. This process may involve a questionnaire or other form of survey that will narrow down not only what you are looking for in an adoption but it also gives the birth parents a chance to match you to their child. In the case of an agency a matching criteria can help place you with a child that fits your household.
- Be prepared to wait! Adoption can be a lengthy process full of ups and downs. Be prepared for these changes and waiting for the perfect match from your agency.
- Finalize the adoption. You will want to consult with an attorney who has experience in adoptions and possibly one who is versed in LGBT adoptions. Requirements will vary by state and in some you’ll need to file a petition for adoption. In the case of a petition there will also be a court hearing and a judge will make the final determination on whether the adoption will be legally recognized.
- Use post adoption services. Once your adoption is finalized be sure to take advantage of the post-adoption services offered by most adoption agencies. These services can provide valuable networking and information to newly adopted children and families.
As a LGBT couple looking to adopt you must accept the process and actually this is true of any parent who is looking to adopt. The hurdles are the same whether you’re a same sex parent of a traditional couple. The most important thing to remember is that this decision is a life changing one, not only for you and your partner but for the child you wish to bring into your family. With some patience, research and a good adoption agency the desire to bring a child into your family can be fulfilled.